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MINUTES–MORRIS CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING –SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council was called to order at 5:15 p.m. this 13th day of September, 2011, by Mayor Giese in the Council Chambers of the Morris Senior Citizens/Community Center.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

OATH OF OFFICE:  Mayor Giese administered the oath of office to new City Attorney Aaron Jordan.

ROLL CALL:  Roll call was taken with the following members present:  Council member Carrington, Webster, Miller and Mayor Giese.  Council member Storck was absent.  Also present was City Manager Hill, Finance Director Krosschell, Police Chief Beauregard and City Attorney Jordan. 

ADDITION TO AGENDA:  Mayor Giese added a resolution to the agenda entitled:  Resolution Authorizing an Agency Agreement for a Safe Routes to School Grant.

CITIZEN’S COMMENTS:  None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:  None

READING AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  8/23/11 Regular Meeting Minutes:  Council member Miller moved, seconded by Webster, to approve the 8/23/11 regular meeting minutes.  Motion carried.

8/23/11 Condensed Version Minutes:  Council member Webster moved, seconded by Carrington, to approve the 8/23/11 condensed version minutes.  Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Webster, to approve the consent agenda which included the following items:

         A.      Audit of City Bills

         B.      August Transit Report

         C.      Raffle License Report

         D.      Gambling Report

Motion carried.

PETITIONS, REQUESTS AND COMMUNICATIONS:  None

ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS:  Resolution Authorizing Execution of MN DOT Grant Agreement for Airport Improvement Excluding Land Acquisition:  Hill explained this resolution is for design work on the parallel taxiway for the Morris airport.  This is a federal project with total design costs of $135,000.  The federal share would be $128,250 and the local share $6,750.  The plan is to try and get the project done next year.

Council member Miller moved, seconded by Webster, to adopt Resolution #3034-9-11, Resolution Authorizing Execution of MN DOT Grant Agreement for Airport Improvement Excluding Land Acquisition.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolutions Approving the Preliminary 2011 Tax Levy for Collection in 2012 and the 2012 Preliminary Budget:  Hill presented the preliminary budget and levy to the council.  Hill recommended the preliminary levy be set at $1,346,438 and the overall preliminary budget be set at $9,602,382.  This tax levy results in a 7.6% increase, but Hill anticipated that the final levy would be somewhere between 3% and 5%. 

Hill noted there is a slight increase in the general fund and the library fund.  There is a lot of debt but it is for projects like infrastructure, which is an important investment because of the value it adds to the city.  Hill suggested a one time transfer be made from the liquor store to pay off the last payment on the debt for the fire truck.    

Hill stated he would like to add $25,000 to the 2007A bond fund levy to offset the normal transfer in from the franchise funds.  Also, $57,665 will be added for the 2011A bond fund levy for the East 8th and 9th Street improvement project.  There will not be an improvement bond next year because of the federal funding on the Pacific Avenue project.    

With regard to the budget, it is projected there will be an approximate 13% increase in the total budget, which includes additional revenue and expenses for the Pacific Avenue project, activity in the bond funds and some additional one time transfers.  The general fund would increase by 1.9% which Hill indicated is very manageable.   Fuel costs are going up, along with repair costs because last winter was tough on equipment. 

One of the big issues with the budget is that the State of Minnesota eliminated the Market Value Homestead Credit, which gave the city about $105,000 of levy use for 2012.    

Hill pointed out one change in this budget from previous years is the elimination of the fire relief contribution. However, Hill is recommending their annual benefit be increased to $1,750.

Miller asked why library expenses were increased by 2.6% when everything was being frozen.  Hill indicated the only thing that has changed with this fund is the wages and benefits and maybe a little bit for utilities.   

There is an additional $25,000 being transferred to the capital outlay fund for equipment.  Hill stated if the city doesn’t continue to take care of equipment the end result is broken equipment and failed roads.   

The Franchise funding is not generating enough revenue to complete the required upgrades, but funding for new construction will help alleviate this issue in the future.  As the infrastructure is improved, less money will be needed for dramatic maintenance. 

A one time transfer of $163,000 from the capital outlay fund will be made to the Pacific Avenue project to pay the local share of the project.

Hill stated he truly believes the city has to look at the assessment policy for improvements.  Currently the city funds 100% of road costs from the general levy and Hill doesn’t know of hardly any cities that are doing that.  Hill recommended the city look at assessing at least 20% for roads.  Miller asked for a dollar amount just to see how an assessment would change for a property owner if the road was included.  Hill indicated that information would be brought forth at the budget worksession.  

Council member Webster moved, seconded by Miller, to adopt Resolution #3035-9-11, Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2011 Tax Levy for Collection in 2012.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2012 Budget for the City of Morris:  Mayor Giese moved, seconded by Council member Carrington, to adopt Resolution #3036-9-11, Resolution Approving the Preliminary 2012 Budget for the City of Morris.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried. 

Resolution Authorizing an Agency Agreement for a Safe Routes to School Grant:  This grant money would be used for solar powered speed signs along Columbia Avenue so when a person travels up and down the hill they can see how fast they’re going.  The grant would pay for 80% of the cost, with a small local share. 

Council member Carrington moved, seconded by Webster, to adopt Resolution #3037-9-11, Resolution Authorizing an Agency Agreement for a Safe Routes to School Grant.  Upon a roll call vote taken and all present voting in favor, motion carried.

CITY MANAGER’S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS:  City Manager Report:  This was informational for the council.

Hill stated he would be meeting with Sheriff Randy Willis to discuss the situation with the recent drowning victim and who is responsible for charges related to the accident.   Hill indicated the bills have to be paid by someone but questioned why taxpayers are paying for something that is outside of city limits. 

Schedule Budget Worksession:  The council members will check their calendars and set a date for a worksession at one of the upcoming council meetings. 

NEW BUSINESS:  The council welcomed new City Attorney Aaron Jordan.

OLD BUSINESS:  Miller asked if there had been any progress on updating the access channel.  Hill indicated he got an email from Mike Cihak at UMM and will be consulting with him about what to do next.  The city will ultimately have to go back to the cable companies and tell them they need to participate in the upgrades. 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:  None   

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, Mayor Giese adjourned the meeting at 6:05 p.m.

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